Erewash’s Member of Parliament Jessica Lee has just announced her intention to stand down at the next general election – after just one term as the area’s MP. Miss Lee advised the Prime Minister about her decision in a letter.
She wrote: “I’m extremely sad to announce that I’ve taken the really difficult decision not to stand for re-election at the General Election in May 2015. I have carefully considered my personal circumstances and responsibilities at this time, before taking this decision. I will remain, carrying out my duties to my constituents, full time and fully committed as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Erewash until my successor is elected in May 2015.”
But reading between the lines, what do we really learn about Lee’s chances in 2015?
In reality, she has none.
She took the seat after three termer Liz Blackman (Lab) in 2010, though Liz stood down before hand. Lee hauled in a majority of just 2,501, whereas her Labour counterpart always commanded a majority of over 7,000. Realistically, Lee knows she would be unlikely to keep the seat even if she tried. So the calculation in her mind must have simply been, “Why bother?”
Electoral Calculus suggests that the seat has a 70 percent chance of going Labour in 2015, with Labour set to pick up a chuck of those 8,300 Liberal Democrat votes, and the Tories to lose out further to UKIP.
I expect to see a fair few other dropouts like this on the run up to 2015. Effectively, Lee has seen the writing on the wall and done precisely what her predecessor, Blackman, did before 2010.
Another tip to stand down? Former government whip Sir John Randall, Uxbridge. Don’t ask me why – I just have a hunch.